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Shining a Light on the Darker Side of Solar Power

Green Groups Continue to Push for Costly, Unfair Net Metering Schemes

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(This article originally appeared in Inside Sources on November 26, 2018). Over the last few months, lawmakers, regulators and consumer advocates have been fighting the good fight against forced, expensive solar energy. Advocates of “net metering,” or the cross-subsidization of residential solar power at the expense of the poor, have had a tough time persuading lawmakers to back their flawed policies. In New Hampshire, a bill expanding net metering was vetoed by Governor Chris Sununu, who called the policy a “handout” to developers. Meanwhile, Arizona’s Arizona Corporation Commission nixed net metering all together in September as the state implements its “Value of Solar” decision issued two years ago.  But advocates of regressive net metering policies aren’t throwing in the towel yet, as environmental groups gear up for battle in New York and Michigan. Despite the claims of pro-solar advocates in both states and across the country, net metering would do little to further “green” goals but come at a gargantuan cost to consumers.  Far from “leveling the playing field,” net metering forces utilities to pay more for rooftop solar energy (the “retail” rate of electricity) versus the typical wholesale price they pay for all other electricity.

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Latest Solar Jobs Report Shows ‘Green’ Sector On Life Support


(This article first appeared in The Daily Caller on April 7, 2018)  In this booming economy, Americans looking for work in a variety of industries have seen prospects improve and wages increase. To some pundits and lawmakers, however, certain sectors are far more important than others and should be bolstered even at the cost of other jobs. In response to research that find multiple jobs lost for every “green” job created, studies claiming economic benefits from renewable subsidies receive quite a bit of media attention. In light of competing claims, what are consumers and taxpayers to make of the government-supported renewables sector? The Solar Foundation’s 2017 Solar Jobs Census Report provides a useful benchmark for assessing the state of the industry, and keeping everybody informed about the results of government spending. After combing through data collected by 2,389 energy establishments, the foundation concludes that the number of solar-supported jobs contracted by 3.8 percent between 2016 and 2017.

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At the Department of Energy, taxpayer funds held hostage


(This article first appeared in The Washington Examiner on August 4, 2017)  The United States Congress continues to kowtow to the Department of Energy (DoE), allowing it free reign to impose energy choices onto consumers across the country.  Contrary to Congress’ promise to advocate for the taxpayer, and despite the urging of numerous thought-leaders, the 115th Congress has so far neglected to protect those who elected them.  Despite continual failures by the solar industry to become a competitive source of energy, the DoE recently announced $65 million in solar subsidies through the SunShot Initiative designed to advance solar power technologies in America.  The SunShot Initiative, a chief culprit in green energy advocates’ scheme to force solar energy onto everyone, freely siphons taxpayer funds toward crony pet projects. Unsurprisingly, these “renewable” programs are chosen entirely without regard for taxpayer costs.  As a result, rampant solar subsidies have led to expensive failed schemes and embarrassing results for solar advocates.  Nevertheless, obvious lessons remain unlearned by solar advocates and their cohorts.

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Coalition Urges Elimination of Taxpayer-Funded SunShot Initiative

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The year is nearly halfway through, yet Congress still has plenty of work to get done in order to make 2017 a productive one. This week there is expected to be a vote on a spending bill that will miss the mark on any meaningful reductions in spending, but there also may be a vote on repeal and replace of Obamacare. The mixed bag from Congress and the White House so far is a bit disappointing but there are opportunities to cut wasteful programs and save taxpayers money. One such example is the SunShot Initiative.  Right now taxpayers, through the Department of Energy (DOE), are paying for the program that spends $270 million per year to “induce companies to lower production and installation costs associated with photovoltaic solar panel systems and reducing the price of solar power.” This is a terrible program and that’s why TPA organized this coalition letter urging House Appropriators to eliminate funding for SunShot. » Read More

The Truth Behind the Solar Jobs Report

(This article originally appeared in The Daily Signal on January 31, 2017) As the Obama administration recedes into history, policymakers would be well advised to rethink the feasibility of taxpayer-funded renewable energy schemes.  In just a few weeks, the Solar Foundation, a Washington-based nonprofit group, will release its latest annual report touting growth figures for solar jobs while it also warns against policies that could result in layoffs.  But the hard reality is that even as solar energy became politically fashionable, it remained economically unsound.  Just ask Elon Musk, the South African-born, Los Angeles-based renewable energy business mogul who had his electric car company bail out his solar energy company last year.  With the change in administration, it is possible there might be an end to the solar investment tax credit, which has been propping up failing solar enterprises on the taxpayer dime. So, expect the Solar Foundation to double down on its talking points in its upcoming report.  In America, anyone is free to lobby and push for their own personal policy preferences. Federal and state officials who have the power to give preferential treatment to this industry should know there are all kinds of conflicts of interest that should be taken into account.  For starters, the Solar Foundation is closely aligned with the Solar Energy Industries Association, a trade group that advocates on behalf of those that manufacture and install solar energy equipment.

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